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Cider With Rosie

Cider With Rosie

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Price: £4.995
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His family was large totaling eight people; his Mother Annie (née Light), his eldest brother Jack, himself, his younger brother Tony, and his half-brother Harold (the first-born Reggie lived with his grandmother) and three half-sisters Marjorie, Dorothy, and Phyllis from their widower father. There was a reassuring prevalence of Penguin books, resplendent in orange cummerbunds, as I rummaged through a squished cardboard box in my attic.

Many of the episodes are also richly comic, yet there is also a sense of tragedy, a sense that the certainty and routine that once controlled village life have now vanished. Here his world is large, scary, cosy and baffling, a world dominated by females and the language reflects this. I found his amusing and engaging in sharing his stories, but really, I look forward to the second part of this story, and to War in Spain. A chapter entitled "The Kitchen" which is the center of a home, and here we hear of his family, his mother and father and half-sisters, half-brothers and brothers.He was surrounded by a large wider family of brothers, eccentric war-veteran uncles and duelling grandmothers who lived one upstairs and one downstairs in a sort of granny annex attached to their untidy, rambling 17th-century stone house. What is perhaps most remarkable about it, and has kept it a firm readers’ favorite since it was first published, is the rich lushness of the description. Last Days describes the gradual breaking up of the village community with the appearance of motor cars and bicycles. It is a collection of Laury Lee's memories of his childhood spent in a remote village during the time after the end of the first world war. Cider with Rosie is also awash with fables and eccentric characters - folkloric and exaggerated, whimsical, and typical of rural life.

Summer, June summer, with the green back on earth and the whole world unlocked and seething – like winter, it came suddenly and one knew it in bed, almost before waking up; with cuckoos and pigeons hollowing the woods since daylight and the chipping of tits in the pear-blossom. Please note the capital M as we can see in this memorable writing when he always mentions her fondly (rarely found in other memoirs I read), for example: ". For me, that was a far superior read, looking at time he spent crossing Spain one year with little in the way of possessions.

This penultimate chapter on the lust of the flesh takes an alarming turn as he describes the village boys’ planned gang rape of a religious 16-year-old, Lizzy. As he grows older, he starts to recognise the villagers as individuals: Cabbage-Stump Charlie, the local bruiser; Albert the Devil, a deaf mute beggar; and Percy-from-Painswick, a clown and ragged dandy who likes to seduce the girls with his soft tongue. They wait for her one Sunday morning in Brith Wood, but when Bill and Boney accost her she slaps them twice and they lose courage, allowing her to run away down the hill. It also takes a very relaxed approach to consenting incest, underage sex and drink and attempted gang rape – not something I expected as a teenager reading a book of such antiquity! The teachers were very different to those today, harsher and often brutal, they had little scope for tolerance, demanding only obedience.

Because of its location, the cottage is in the path of the floods that flow into the valley, and Laurie and his family have to go outside to clear the storm drain every time there is a heavy downpour, though even this sometimes fails to stop the sludge despoiling their kitchen. Sick Boy is an account of the various illnesses Lee suffered as a young boy, some of which brought him to the brink of death. But the first book that made me miss my stop because I was unable to leave my seat due to the large bulge in my trousers was Cider With Rosie. The title comes from a late moment when Rosie Burdock tempts the adolescent Lee with alcoholic cider and kisses underneath a hay wagon. Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy.

Cider With Rosie' is a tale of the author's early life growing up within a large family, without a real father figure influence,in a Cotswold village in and around the 1920s and is told from the standpoint of a child. The most memorable scenes for me are not the famous cider in the haystack but two big disappointments: when Laurie is deemed too old to sleep in his mother’s bed and then when he starts school and is told to sit in a particular place “for the present”, and is bitterly disappointed not to be given said present at the end of the day. There is an understanding here that it is events both large and seemingly insignificant which provide the threads that will contribute to our comprehension of our world, long before we are ready or able to knit them together. I loved how he describes the beauty of nature, the difficult, poverty stricken life he endured, the sights and scents and the sounds of everything glorious and everything horrid. The chapters are themed with stages of the authors childhood - first memories, the family structure, school memories, the neighbouring old women, etc, through to his experiences through puberty (cue Rosie) and his sisters getting engaged and preparing to leave the house.

It is in these moments that life here feels most akin to the world about which Lee wrote so vividly. Though he was sure that they wouldn’t be, Laurie Lee’s Slad and Stroud can still be found in small corners and brief moments; in the markets on a Saturday, when orchard owners arrive with cider and crates filled with apples; in the pubs, crammed full with locals listening to music, celebrating and commiserating, making plans and drinking pints; in the hedgerows, still heavy with ripe fruit as summer moves into autumn; at Christmas, when parades wind through the town, and parties and dances are held in the town hall; and in the distinctive curve of each and every street, in this town that I have made my home. I enjoyed this little book, so to say I was somewhat disappointed sounds disingenuous, but I honestly thought this would be a 5 star read.

It chronicles the traditional village life which disappeared with the advent of new developments, such as the coming of the motor car and relates the experiences of childhood seen from many years later.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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